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He is a BIG problem, but I can put up with him.

Dear Sir
The mad-man Stewart is again here. he has called on me for $:105—which I was obliged to let him have, or I supposed suffer him to go to Jail…
George Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson, November 16, 1801

… I note & approve what you did as to Stewart. he is the best workman in America, but the most eccentric one: quite manageable were I at home, but doubtful as I am not …
To George Jefferson, December 3, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some employees, no matter how skilled, need close supervison.
George Jefferson was the President’s cousin and Richmond-based business agent. William Stewart was a Philadelphia blacksmith hired by the President to move to Monticello. A ship captain’s bill for moving the family of six was $75. Stewart demanded $105 reimbursement instead. When George asked for documentation for the extra $30, Stewart cited (but didn’t produce) a letter from the President supposedly authorizing the extra funds. George thought it better to pay Stewart and get rid of him, but he made clear what he thought about the man.

Jefferson accepted George’s decision. He also acknowledged Stewart’s skill and great eccentricity. The latter could be managed if he were close by but must be tolerated from a distance.

Stewart’s wife died in 1805 and was buried in the Monticello cemetery. He was fired two years later, after fully training the slave Joe Fossett, who served in that capacity until Jefferson’s death in 1826. Fossett was freed in Jefferson’s will, but his wife and 10 children were sold because of Jefferson’s debts. Fossett eventually purchased his wife and some of their children from slavery.

”Everyone, to a person, commented on how thorough you were
and how every detail that was possible to recreate was covered.”
President, Cole County Historical Society
Let Mr. Jefferson transport your audience to another era!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Monticello, Personalities of others, Slavery Tagged , , , , , , |

Do THIS only, and the vast majority will support us.

… that all should be satisfied with any one order of things is not to be expected: but I indulge the pleasing persuasion that the great body of our citizens will cordially concur in honest and disinterested [objective, lacking a personal agenda] efforts, which have for their object to preserve the general & state governments in their constitutional form & equilibrium; to maintain peace abroad, & order & obedience to the laws at home; to establish principles & practices of administration favorable to the security of liberty & property; & to reduce expences to what is necessary for the useful purposes of government.
First Annual Message, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Effective leaders limit and define their goals, and make them very clear to all.
This ends President Jefferson’s first annual address, known now as the State of the Union Address, from which the last few posts have been taken. Such a report is required by the Constitution, Article II, Section 3. (This requirement is not an annual one. The Constitution says only the President shall do so “from time to time.” I suppose President Washington established the precedent of a yearly address, and his successors continued it.)

Just preceding this exceprt, Jefferson praised Congress for its “collected wisdom … prudence & temperance” as they worked for the good of their citizens. He concludes with these observations:
1. Not everyone will be pleased with each of their actions.
2. Yet, if they are honest and objective, they will enjoy great public favor, so long as they remember their limited responsibilities to:
– Preserve the national and state governments as outlined in the Constitution
– Maintain peaceful relations with other countries
– Maintain order and respect for the law within the nation
– Continue to establish and secure the rights of personal liberty and property
– Reduce the cost of the national government, limiting it to its Constitutional principles

“Thank you so much for your enormous contribution
to the success of our recent workshop …”

The Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C.
Let Mr. Jefferson contribute to the success of your meeting!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Congress, Constitutional issues Tagged , , , , , , |

What is best for private enterprise?

Agriculture, manufactures, commerce & navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprize. protection from casual embarrasments however may sometimes be seasonably interposed. if, in the course of your observations or enquiries, they should appear to need any aid, within the limits of our constitutional powers, your sense of their importance is a sufficient assurance they will occupy your attention.
First Annual (State of the Union) Address, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders know when hands-off is best!
Farming, making things, selling things and shipping comprised the foundation of America’s prosperity. Those businesses thrived at their very best when left to “individual enterprize,” in other words, free from government interference.

Still, there may be times when limited government aid was helpful. Since this address was to the Congress, he invited their aid from time to time, as they saw fit, provided it was “within the limits of our constitutional powers.” In this instance, those powers were limited to promoting commerce and mediating interstate disputes. Beyond that, businesspeople did not need or benefit from Congressional interference.

“After seeing you perform several years ago,
I did not expect you could improve much on your character.
However, I have to say your program has gotten even better with age!
Missouri Department of Conservation
Thomas Jefferson does get better with age. See for yourself!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Commerce, Congress, Constitutional issues Tagged , , , , , , |

Does government help or hurt?

when we consider that this government is charged with the external & mutual relations only of these states, that the states themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, & our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organisation is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices & officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, & sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote.
First Annual (State of the Union) Address, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders understand the limits of their responsibility.
Jefferson’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution was that the job of the federal government was two-fold:
1. Foreign relations and national defense (“external …relations”)
2. Promoting commercial relationships and mediating issues between the states (“mutual relations”)

Instead, he saw a national government, desiring to do all manner of good for its citizens, that had expanded its reach far beyond those limited Constitutional responsibilities. The result was a government that was:
1. Too complicated
2. Too expensive
3. Had too many offices and too many employees
4. Sometimes hurt the very causes they intended to help

Jefferson went on in his State of the Union message to explain what he was doing to limit Washington’s overreach.

“The presentation as Thomas Jefferson was by far
the most original, educational and interesting program
I have seen in many years involved with OSLS.”

Executive Director, Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors
Does the Oklahoma Surveyors’ response appeal to you?
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
2 Comments Posted in Constitutional issues, Government's proper role, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , |

5 steps to maintain public trust over public money

In our care too of the public contributions entrusted to our direction, it would be prudent to multiply barriers against their dissipation, by appropriating specific sums to every specific purpose susceptible of definition; by disallowing all applications of money varying from the appropriation in object, or transcending it in amount; by reducing the undefined field of Contingencies, & thereby circumscribing discretionary powers over money; and by bringing back to a single department all accountabilities for money, where the examinations may be prompt, efficacious, & uniform.
First Annual Message, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Responsible leaders know the importance of protecting taxpayers’ money.
Deciphering this challenging passage, Jefferson laid out to Congress specific strategies for making sure that taxes weren’t wasted:
1. Set amounts of money should be appropriated for specific purposes
2. No spending for anything outside those purposes
3. No spending in excess of what was agreed upon
4. Minimize undefined purposes, limiting discretionary power over spending
5. Have one department responsible for accounting for all funds in a timely and uniform manner, to assure items 1 through 4 were carried out.

“Your contribution … added immeasurably to the success of the workshop.
We hope to be able to work with you in the future.”
Missouri Department of Corrections
Let Mr. Jefferson contribute to the success of your meeting.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Congress, Federal finances Tagged , , , , , , , |

The value of skill and bravery combined!

… you have shewn to your countrymen that that enemy cannot meet bravery & skill united. in proving to them that our past condescensions were from a love of peace, not a dread of them, you have deserved well of your country …
To Andrew Sterett, December 1, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know when skill alone or bravery alone won’t be enough.
Sterett (1778-1807) commanded the Enterprize in the Mediterranean and secured the first naval victory over the North African Barbary pirates. He had just returned to America after his successful mission, and his President expressed his profound appreciation.

The pirates had been plying their trade for decades and knew it well, capturing ships and holding their crews for ransom. Or demanding annual ransom from nations to leave their ships unharmed. Jefferson knew, despite his enemies’ past success, they could not stand when extraordinary skill and great bravery were combined.

Sterett’s victory accomplished another goal. He proved that America’s past acquiescence wasn’t out of fear of the pirates but out of a love of peace.

“As a meeting planner, it was a pleasure to work with you…
Thank you for a job well done.”
Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
Mr. Jefferson is low maintenance.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Diplomacy, Military / Militia, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Beware! The government will tax you into poverty!

… considering the general tendency to multiply offices and dependancies, & to increase expence to the ultimate term of burthen which the citizen can bear, it behoves us to avail ourselves of every occasion which presents itself for taking off the surcharge [internal tax]; that it never may be seen here that, after leaving to labour the smallest portion of it’s earnings on which it can subsist, government shall itself consume the whole residue of what it was instituted to guard.
First Annual Message, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders keep a tight rein on government spending, for good reason!
This was the first of eight annual messages Jefferson would deliver, what we now call “State of the Union” addresses. He ended the precedent established by the two previous Presidents, who delivered their messages to Congress in person. Jefferson submitted his in writing, instead. He thought a President arriving at Congress with pomp and ceremony was too much like a King before the Parliament.

Nearly nine months into his administration, he acknowledged government’s natural tendency to increase its size, budget and reach. He was intent on reducing all three. Otherwise, our government would come to mimic those of Europe, which left its citizens just barely enough to live on and taxed away all the rest.

“We have used Mr. Lee on various trips over the past five years …
His portrayals of Jefferson and
[Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William]
Clark are exceptional.”
RiverBarge Excursions (on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers)
For an exceptional presentation for your audience, invite Thomas Jefferson to speak.
Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Congress, Taxes Tagged , , , , , , |

It is better to stay silent than make promises.

… I found myself obliged by a rigorous rule, under which it was absolutely necessary to lay myself, to pretermit [ignore or postpone for a time] that ceremony. the considerations which oblige me never to say, even to my bosom friends, that an office will, or will not be given, will readily suggest themselves to you: and to make it a justification to all, it must be acted on without exception. what is done, when the time for acting arrives, is the only answer affirmative or negative which is given.
To Thomas Tudor Tucker, October 31, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders know they will disappoint some people, even close friends.
Tucker (1745-1828) was a prominent South Carolina physician, a surgeon during the Revolutionary War and Congressman in the 1790s. He had written to Jefferson in March, offering his services to the new administration, but the President made no reply.

Seven months later, Jefferson responded with an offer of Treasurer of the United States and explained his intervening silence on the subject. He had a strict rule of never saying that someone would or would not receive an appointment. If the opportunity for an appointment arose, as it had with the Treasurer, he would offer it, as he was now doing. Otherwise, he could say nothing.

Jefferson’s reply hints that he would have liked to communicate with his fellow Revolutionary leader much earlier, but principle dictated he could not. He had to apply his rule across the board, without regard to friendship. Whatever action he took, and whenever, would be the only yes or no an applicant would receive.

“Thanks so much for the great job you did as Thomas Jefferson.”
Missouri Mappers Association
Mr. Jefferson stands ready to do a great job for your audience.
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Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , |

What are insults among friends?

Lest your rural tranquility should become insipid for want of a little seasoning, I have thought it might not be amiss to animate it from the pepper pots of the tories. their printers, when they have any thing very impudent, send it to me gratis. I will freely give therefore what I freely recieve. I this week send you a dish of the Monitor. the next perhaps it may be of the Palladium, or of Timothy of Charleston &c.
To Stevens Thomson Mason, October 28, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some leaders share the persecution, just for fun.
Mason (1760-1804) was a lawyer and Republican U.S. Senator from Virginia. In a bit of humor, rarely expressed in his correspondence, Jefferson offered to spice up the too-tranquil life of his younger friend by forwarding an opposition newspaper. Always a target of the Federalist press, he suggested he might forward several more.

Those Federalist printers, hoping to pour salt into a wound, often sent Jefferson a free copy of any edition that was particularly critical of him. Subverting a statement of Jesus in the New Testament (Matthew 10:8) as he instructed his disciples, Jefferson also offered to give freely to his neighbor what had been freely given to him.

The “Monitor” was a opposition newspaper in Connecticut, the “Palladium” one in Boston, and Timothy published one in South Carolina. In a July letter to Jefferson, his Attorney General claimed the Palladium was given for free to Boston clergy, for the purpose of using it from their pulpits and encouraging paid subscriptions.

“Again, thanks for helping to make this one of our best conventions ever.”
Sr. Vice President, Community Bankers Association of Illinois
Mr. Jefferson will raise the bar at your convention.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Newspapers, Politics

Guns for all, but why? For what purpose?

… we contemplate with pleasure the prospect before us—Peace abroad tranquility at home a Republican Government faithfully executed & firmly supported by the confidence of the people Armed for defence but never for Offence— …
To Thomas Jefferson from the CT Officers & Soldiers of the 12th Regiment, September 23, 1801

I accept with many thanks the kind expressions of the twelfth regiment … towards myself personally, and with still greater satisfaction their declarations of attachment to our constitution. the principles you profess of peace abroad, tranquility at home, a faithful administration of the government, on it’s genuine principles of republicanism, and arms for it’s support in the hands of every citizen …
To the CT Officers and Soldiers of the 12th Regiment, October 28, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders understand the need for and purpose of an armed citizenry.
An army regiment appreciated the President’s principles and support of an armed citizenry, essential for defending those principles. Weapons were for defense, not offense.

Although people are rightfully concerned about mass violence by firearms, Jefferson explained why an armed citizenry was invaluable. The army was small, and the nation’s first line of defense was the militia, armed citizens who could be mustered in a crisis.

The army today is no longer small, and one could argue the need for armed citizens no longer exists. Jefferson might argue the need does exist, against an internal threat as well as an external one. That threat to individual liberty could come from another person … or from the government itself. An armed citizen could protect himself against either intrusion. Unarmed, he was powerless against both.

Jefferson would concur with his soldiers that the purpose of an armed citizenry was defensive, not offensive.

“It was a pleasure working with Mr. Lee,
who was thoughtful of the society’s needs as we formulated the program together.”

Boone County Historical Society
Mr. Jefferson would enjoy formulating program for your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Protecting ourselves Tagged , , , , , , |